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Projects & Patterns

Pattern Roundup: Blouses with Sleeve Interest

View five blouse patterns and learn three tips for choosing and sewing the most flattering style.

This could be the Year of the Sleeve. Blouses, dresses, even jackets are available in fun, flouncy styles that can add flair to your wardrobe. When considering a pattern for a blouse with sleeve interest, there are a few things to keep in mind:

Fabric choice

Because of the sleeves’ volume, large-scale patterns can appear overwhelming on some designs. Stripes can also read strangely on multisection sleeves unless the pattern pieces are positioned perfectly when cutting.

Fabric weight

You can completely change the look of a sleeve by making it in fabrics of different weights. A voluminous sleeve looks loose and airy in a sheer or semisheer fabric, but it looks bold and full in a more structured material.

Volume and proportion

Consider what type of volume fits you best proportionally. If you want the focus to be away from your hips, choose a design that flares out above the waistline. Be aware that the width of the sleeve will change your silhouette, and some sleeves won’t flatter you as well as others.

For more sleeve inspiration, see “Sleeve Medley” by Andrea Schewe, in Threads #196 (April/May 2018), which explores three high-impact sleeve variations: the poet sleeve, the leg-of-mutton sleeve, and the bishop sleeve. Find a bonus design in “Learn How to Draft a Lantern Sleeve.”

Also check out “Pattern Hack: Dramatic Pleats” by Sarah McFarland, in Threads #194 (Dec. 2017/Jan 2018), which explains how to adapt a pattern to include flowing accordion or knife-pleated sleeves.

Click “Launch Gallery” below to view five summer blouse patterns with sleeve interest.


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